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Back Local News US Secret Service arrests ‘prolific Russian hacker’ on Guam

US Secret Service arrests ‘prolific Russian hacker’ on Guam

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Accused of hacking accounts in the US

ROMAN Seleznev, a 30-year-old Russian national, was arrested by the U.S. Secret Service and transported to Guam over the weekend. According to a petition for removal filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Guam, Seleznev was arrested in the early morning hours of July 6 on Guam.

In a statement, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security called Seleznev “one of the world’s most prolific traffickers of stolen financial information.”

Local officials have released few details about Seleznev’s capture. The Western District of Washington, however, said Seleznev was present for an initial court appearance in Guam. In his first court appearance, it was ordered that Seleznev be detained pending a further hearing scheduled for July 22.

Seleznev was present on Monday with a Russian language interpreter before Magistrate Judge Joaquin Manibusan Jr. of the U.S. District Court of Guam. According to court documents, Seleznev advised the court that he wished to retain his own attorney.

The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Seleznev is being charged with illegal “hackings” that occurred between October 2009 and February 2011 across the U.S. He is accused of hacking computers at restaurants in Washington state, including the Broadway Grill restaurant in Seattle.

More than 32K cards

According to the indictment, officials discovered more than 32,000 credit card numbers had been saved as a result of having been swiped at the Broadway Grill. Additionally, seven establishments in Washington – as well as businesses in Idaho, Maryland, Maine, New York, Arizona Illinois and California – were targeted by Seleznev and others known to the grand jury, the indictment stated.

It wasn’t until March 2011 that Seleznev was indicted by a grand jury and not until this past weekend that he was arrested.

The indictment states that Seleznev would rig point-of-sale systems, which customers used to swipe their credit or debit cards to purchase items or services and retain the information electronically to be used for financial gain.

The indictment also alleges he would use the information he collected and sell it online to other cyber crooks.

The Russian hacker faces five counts of bank fraud; eight counts of intentionally causing damage to a protected computer; eight counts of obtaining information from a protected computer; one count of possession of more than 15 unauthorized access devices; two counts of trafficking unauthorized access devices; and five counts of aggravated identity theft.

The 27-page indictment had been sealed pending Seleznev’s capture, but was unsealed on July 7 after he was arrested.

In addition to the name Roman Seleznev, he is also known as “Roman Ivanoc,” “Ruben Samvelich,” “TRACK2,” “nCuX,” “Bulba,” “bandysli64,” “smaus,” “Zagreb,” and “shmak.”

In addition to the indictment in the Western District of Washington, Seleznev is also named in a separate indictment in the District of Nevada, according to DHS. He is accused of participating in a racketeer-influenced corrupt organization; conspiracy to engage in a racketeer-influenced corrupt organization; and two counts of possession of 15 or more counterfeit and unauthorized access devices. Each of these offenses carries a penalty of at least 10 to 20 years in prison.

‘Cannot hide’

U.S. Attorney of Western District of Washington, Jenny A. Durkan, said cyber crooks should take heed. “You cannot hide behind distant keyboards,” she said. “We will bring you to face justice.”

The U.S. attorney petitioned on July 7 to have Seleznev removed from Guam to the Western District of Washington, the district that filed the warrant of arrest for the Russian.

"This important arrest sends a clear message: despite the increasingly borderless nature of transitional organized crime, the long arm of justice – and this department – will continue to disrupt and dismantle sophisticated criminal organizations," Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said in a statement.

The case remains under investigation by the U.S. Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force in Seattle and is being prosecuted by the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington.

U.S. Attorney Alicia Limtiaco said in a statement her office is committed to working with law enforcement partners and the community to combat cybercrime. The statement from Limtiaco also reminded the public that the indictment only contains allegations and that accused persons are considered innocent until proven guilty.

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